Risk, Resilience & Accountability:
The Challenge of Managing
Cultural Collections
UK Registrars Group
May 2014
These slides are freely available...
www.slideshare.net/collectionstrust
www.culturalpropertyadvice.gov.uk
Introducing Collections Trust
• Team of 12 based at the Natural History Museum in London
• Promoting the education of the ...
Forthcoming programmes
• Our main programmes for 2014-15 are:
– Risk, Resilience & Rationalisation
– Cultural Property man...
The relationship between legal
responsibilities & professional practice
INSTITUTIONAL
PROFESSIONAL
LEGAL
The management of risk, resilience and
public accountability are a product of legal
compliance, professional practice and ...
AMOUNT OF
TROUBLE YOU’LL
BE IN IF SOMEONE
SCREWS UP
The problem is, it isn’t possible for everyone
to be (a) a lawyer and (b) on top of their
game every day...
REFLECT & PROMOTE LEGAL &
ETHICAL COMPLIANCE
PROVIDE GUIDELINES AND
TOOLS TO ENSURE THAT THE
DAILY WORK IS AS COMPLIANT
AS REALISTICALLY POSSIBLE
The aim isn’t to exclude all risk, but to create
as professional & accountable a culture as
possible and to take balanced ...
What is risk?
• “Risk – combination of threat and likelihood of
it occurring. Risk is the potential for a chosen
action or...
Controlling risk
PEOPLE
COLLECTIONS
BUILDINGS
INFORMATION
SECURITY
ENVIRONMENTAL
MANAGEMENT
DOCUMENTATIONHOUSEKEEPING
FINA...
Controlling risk
PEOPLE
COLLECTIONS
BUILDINGS
INFORMATION
SECURITY
ENVIRONMENTAL
MANAGEMENT
DOCUMENTATIONHOUSEKEEPING
FINA...
So what are the specific risks attendant on
managing cultural property and how can
they be dealt with?
Cultural Property is defined* as “immovables and
movables, including monuments of architecture, art
or history, archaeolog...
Key Cultural Property challenges
• Illicit trade
• Restitution & repatriation
• Dealing with Human Remains
• Looted Art 19...
Legal requirements
• Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003
• 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting ...
Combating illicit trade
• Trade in objects illicitly removed from archaeological sites or monuments
• Traffic in objects s...
Restitution & repatriation
• Repatriation is the return of cultural objects to a nation or state at the
request of a gover...
Human Remains
• Trade in objects illicitly removed from archaeological sites or monuments
• Traffic in objects stolen from...
Looted Art 1933-45
• Cultural objects and works of art were systematically looted by the Nazis and
others during the Secon...
Looted Art 1933-45
• Sir Nicholas Serota has called on NMDC member museums to review and
update their spoliation research ...
Holocaust (Cultural Objects) Act 2009
• Applies to 14 National Museums, the British Library and Kew Gardens
• Defines the ...
NMDC Statement of Principles
• Statement of Principles & Proposed Actions published in 1998
• Recognises and condemns the ...
Our approach to these risks has to be
proportionate – a culture of good
governance, transparency, due diligence,
collectio...
Links & Resources
• www.culturalpropertyadvice.gov.uk
• www.collectionslink.org.uk
• http://www.museumsassociation.org/eth...
Keep in touch!
OpenCulture 2014 conference, 25th
& 26th
June, Kia Oval, London
www.collectionslink.org.uk/openculture2014
...
Risk, Resilience & Accountability: Managing Cultural Property
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Risk, Resilience & Accountability: Managing Cultural Property

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Introduction to the legal and professional management of cultural property in museums, presented at the UK Registrars Group event in Birmingham, May 2014

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Risk, Resilience & Accountability: Managing Cultural Property

  1. 1. Risk, Resilience & Accountability: The Challenge of Managing Cultural Collections UK Registrars Group May 2014
  2. 2. These slides are freely available... www.slideshare.net/collectionstrust
  3. 3. www.culturalpropertyadvice.gov.uk
  4. 4. Introducing Collections Trust • Team of 12 based at the Natural History Museum in London • Promoting the education of the public by supporting museum development since 1977 • We develop, promote, maintain and improve standards of collections and information management in museums • We provide services and resources which help museums improve the resilience and use of their collections
  5. 5. Forthcoming programmes • Our main programmes for 2014-15 are: – Risk, Resilience & Rationalisation – Cultural Property management – Digital Asset Management for Museums – Going Digital (back-to-basics IT) – Collections standards & best practice – Participation & diversity in collections
  6. 6. The relationship between legal responsibilities & professional practice
  7. 7. INSTITUTIONAL PROFESSIONAL LEGAL
  8. 8. The management of risk, resilience and public accountability are a product of legal compliance, professional practice and good museum management.
  9. 9. AMOUNT OF TROUBLE YOU’LL BE IN IF SOMEONE SCREWS UP
  10. 10. The problem is, it isn’t possible for everyone to be (a) a lawyer and (b) on top of their game every day...
  11. 11. REFLECT & PROMOTE LEGAL & ETHICAL COMPLIANCE
  12. 12. PROVIDE GUIDELINES AND TOOLS TO ENSURE THAT THE DAILY WORK IS AS COMPLIANT AS REALISTICALLY POSSIBLE
  13. 13. The aim isn’t to exclude all risk, but to create as professional & accountable a culture as possible and to take balanced decisions about risk as you go along
  14. 14. What is risk? • “Risk – combination of threat and likelihood of it occurring. Risk is the potential for a chosen action or activity (including the choice of inaction) to lead to a loss.” - Museums Accreditation Standard, Arts Council England 2013
  15. 15. Controlling risk PEOPLE COLLECTIONS BUILDINGS INFORMATION SECURITY ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT DOCUMENTATIONHOUSEKEEPING FINANCE BUSINESS CONTINUITY ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE PEST MANAGEMENT COLLECTIONS CARE CONSERVATION HR/PERSONNEL IT/SYSTEMS
  16. 16. Controlling risk PEOPLE COLLECTIONS BUILDINGS INFORMATION SECURITY ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT DOCUMENTATIONHOUSEKEEPING FINANCE BUSINESS CONTINUITY ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE PEST MANAGEMENT COLLECTIONS CARE CONSERVATION HR/PERSONNEL IT/SYSTEMS
  17. 17. So what are the specific risks attendant on managing cultural property and how can they be dealt with?
  18. 18. Cultural Property is defined* as “immovables and movables, including monuments of architecture, art or history, archaeological sites, works of art, books, manuscripts and other objects of artistic, historical or archaeological interest, as well as scientific collections of all kinds, regardless of their origin or ownership” So, everything, basically... *1954 Hague Convention on Cultural Property
  19. 19. Key Cultural Property challenges • Illicit trade • Restitution & repatriation • Dealing with Human Remains • Looted Art 1933-45 (spoliation) • Media & public relations
  20. 20. Legal requirements • Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003 • 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Im • 1954 Hague Convention Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Con • National Export Regulations (change all the time!) • Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009 • When in doubt, call the Arts Council England Acquisitions, Exports, Loans & Collections Unit or DCMS!
  21. 21. Combating illicit trade • Trade in objects illicitly removed from archaeological sites or monuments • Traffic in objects stolen from their rightful owners • Illegal export of an object by its rightful owner Legal: Dealing in Cultural Property (Offences) Act 2005 Professional: Included in both the MA Code of Ethics & the SPECTRUM standard Institutional Due Diligence policies covering Acquisitions & Loans eg. V&A Due Diligence Policy for Works of Art & Cultural Property for Loan
  22. 22. Restitution & repatriation • Repatriation is the return of cultural objects to a nation or state at the request of a government • Restitution is the return of cultural objects to an individual or a community Legal: No firm legal basis for dealing with requests for return Professional: Excellent guidance under the MA Code of Ethics [Articles 5.0 – 5.23] and Policy Statement on Repatriation of Cultural Property Institutional Have an appropriate process in place for handling requests and make sure staff know where to direct enquiries.
  23. 23. Human Remains • Trade in objects illicitly removed from archaeological sites or monuments • Traffic in objects stolen from their rightful owners • Illegal export of an object by its rightful owner Legal: Human Tissue Act 2004 and Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006 Professional: Guidance on the responsible management of Human Remains from DCMS Institutional Institutional on the care, storage & display of Human Remains in collections eg. Wellcome Collection Policy on the Care of Human Remains
  24. 24. Looted Art 1933-45 • Cultural objects and works of art were systematically looted by the Nazis and others during the Second World War and the Holocaust Era from 1933-1945; an activity which is often described as spoliation. Legal: ‘Public collections’ are legally required to undertake research into objects of unknown provenance between 1933-45 & make this information available Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009 Professional: Cultural Property Advice guidance on researching validity & managing risk Institutional If you believe there are at-risk items in your collection, contact the DCMS Spoliation Advisory Panel
  25. 25. Looted Art 1933-45 • Sir Nicholas Serota has called on NMDC member museums to review and update their spoliation research at www.culturalpropertyadvice.gov.uk • The Cornelius Gurlitt case has stirred up public & media interest in issues of spoliation • Return of Matisse Woman in a Blue Dress in front of a Fireplace (est. $20m) from the Henie Orstad Art Centre, Norway to the family of Paul Rosenberg • Spoliation Advisory Panel has published a report supporting the case for return of John Constable’s Beaching a Boat, Brighton from tate • V&A and the Ashmolean currently in discussion with the Panel concerning spoliation claims – both have reacted quickly & made public statements, reducing the risk of misinformation
  26. 26. Holocaust (Cultural Objects) Act 2009 • Applies to 14 National Museums, the British Library and Kew Gardens • Defines the role of the Spoliation Advisory Committee & the powers of the Secretary of State (& their equivalent in the Scottish Government) • Expires in 2019
  27. 27. NMDC Statement of Principles • Statement of Principles & Proposed Actions published in 1998 • Recognises and condemns the looting of art by the Nazis • Endorses the principles set out in the MA Code of Ethics • Defines three types of spoliation research: responsive, ongoing & on acquisition or offer • Requires the identification of a named person responsible • Requires that all items of unknown/uncertain provenance are publicised • Recommends processes for dealing with enquiries and claims
  28. 28. Our approach to these risks has to be proportionate – a culture of good governance, transparency, due diligence, collections management and professional competence (documentation!) will avoid problems before they arise.
  29. 29. Links & Resources • www.culturalpropertyadvice.gov.uk • www.collectionslink.org.uk • http://www.museumsassociation.org/ethics • http://www.dcms.gov.uk • Arts Council England Cultural Property Unit • This presentation on Slideshare – www.slideshare.net/collectionstrust
  30. 30. Keep in touch! OpenCulture 2014 conference, 25th & 26th June, Kia Oval, London www.collectionslink.org.uk/openculture2014 nick@collectionstrust.org.uk Follow us on twitter: @NickPoole1 and @CollectionTrust Thank you!

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